Poppy for Peace

Poppy for peace, originally uploaded by straaddreamer.

I've seen peace poppies for the first time in the last very last West End Farmer's Market (October 24th). It seemed way to early for wearing a poppy, and I was sure that I will see more white poppies around after... But I was wrong. Only place I've seen them is online.

Wars suck. And while I'm fully aware they must have some kind of an ecological role similar to plague that is equivalent to a massive spring-cleaning purging; there is no denying the pain, suffering, injustice, humiliation that each individual whose life has been touched by war is experiencing.

Wars have shaped the history of mankind pretty much since the beginning of time. The last two great wars seem to affect in some way or another, direct or indirect, almost every single person I ever met: families and loved ones from 2 or 3 generations ago that have been separated and wounded physically or emotionally are still experiencing the pain that these wars have inflicted on us. And before anyone really has time to heal - another global crisis arises and the cycle just does not seem to really come to an end, just to change place, time and victims.

So on this Remembrance Day, I want to not only remember all the Canadian soldiers that lost their lives or their well-being to defend this vast and free country in the 2 world wars; I want to remember all the inevitable victims of war, the world over. Soldiers are humans underneath their uniforms; and more often very young humans at that - my maternal grandfather, for example, was only 15 years old when he enlisted to the Jewish Brigade in the British Army to fight the Nazis and fascists in Italy. He did, however, forge his age because you had to be at least 16 years of age to volunteer to the army at the time. And I'm most certain there are too many teenage soldiers right now as I write this, probably even younger than 15, fighting for some cause or another, with or against their will.

So wear a white poppy next to your red one (in respect to the veterans that fought for our freedom and for those that lost their lives). This is to "Remember the fallen, including civilians, and work for peace". If you can't find one around that is already made by your local Poppy for Peace movement, just make one yourself from white fabric or paper.

A Rose, A Thorn

the pain behind the beauty, originally uploaded by _Neverletmego_.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about World War II. Even before it was officially time to think about it because of Remembrance Day. Even now, 62 years after that war has finally ended, we are still suffering its consequences in many ways. Globalization and the conquest of technology over humanity seems to be two major trends that resulted indirectly from this war. But even more importantly – the constant deterioration of sense of community, family and belonging in the Western cultures, that we are experiencing in large and small gestures every day. The Great War has not only shaken the values and belief systems of millions of people, but also the mental structure of the individuals that lived through it and after it, and the result is the many challenges of modern day living – stress, alienation and a general feeling of lack of direction and sense of belonging, among almost all age groups.

And so I finally took the time to experience one of the perfumes of these great wars. Launching a perfume in the midst of World War I (1914-1918) would have been perceived as a clever but slightly macabre marketing stunt, or an act of propaganda if it would have happened nowadays. But back than perfume companies were still rather innocent and perfume played a far more important role in people’s life. Perhaps the fact that there were only about seven other perfumes launched that year (as opposed to 447 in 2007, and the year hasn’t ended yet!) tells something about the preciousness of perfume back in those days… N’Aimez Que Moi (Ernest Daltroff, 1916) is translated into “Love No One But Me”.

According to Caron: “1916: the war is raging on all fronts and young women are languishing after those men that, two years ago, they let go, full of zeal and with the promise that they’d be home very soon. To keep up morale among the troops and their lady friends, CARON launched N’Aimez Que Moi.

A true pledge of faithfulness, young soldiers gave this perfume to their betrothed so that they would renew their vows of love daily until the day when victory came.”

N’Aimez Que Mois’ composition has “Hints of crystallized violets on a wooded amber base.” And is a floral chypre for those in search for gentle and comforting fragrance. Which is precisely what I needed when I chose it tonight, unknowingly searching for comfort from all those heavy and non-optimistic thoughts.

You don’t need to know all this to enjoy N’Aimez Que Moi gives a sense of intimacy and comfort. Despite the fact that it is in a sense “an old fashioned” scent, it is so well made and artfully blended that it is timeless. N’Aimez Que Mois opens dark and dense, as most Caron perfumes do. The rose is nearly hidden in thorns and darkness of notes of cedar, moss and what seems to be the crying out loud of the Caron base… Slowly but surely, fresh roses start to bloom and open up with dewy petals but an almost green intensity. There is something very convincing and real about them – they are just about as close to true rose as I’ve ever smelled. But the roses don’t stand out on their own. The companionship of candied violets and powdery orris softens the green edge of the blooming roses, with a softness akin to kissing a very soft, freshly powdered cheek. And once you’ve reached the dry down, animalic tonalities of both jasmine and civet* create a sensuality and a sense of intimacy and closeness that lingers even longer than a kiss.

Top notes: Cedar, Rose
Heart notes: Rose, Violet, Orris
Base notes: Civet, Jasmine, Moss

* The drydown is so utterly similar to Joy that I am wondering if N’Aimez Que Moi wasn’t the inspiration for that perfume. However, N’Aimez Que Moi is so much more delicate and wearable for me, with none of the intense sharpness of aldehyde and lily of the valley that Joy attacks me with for the first couple of hours of wear.

Yizkor - Remember

Yizkor - Remember, originally uploaded by Daedalus42.

Today is Yom Hazikaron Lashoa ve la Gvurah – Holocaust Remembrance Day. Literally translated as “The Day of Remembrance for the Holocaust and Bravery”*.

Today we need to remember the millions that were slaughtered because of who they are: the Jews in World War II, as well many other minorities at the time, such as the gypsies, homosexual, and many children and adults who were sick or disabled. But the genocide nightmare continues to this day, and we should not forget the Armenian Genocide, the Kurdish Genocide and the more recent genocides in Rwanda and now in Darfour. People are murdered every day because of their ethnicity, religion or political views and the world stands by and does nothing for the most part, except for some minor things that probably help the helpers more than the situation and the people who are being murdered.

Another thing that I would like to bring up today is the extreme misery that many Holocaust survivors are experiencing to this very day. This year, the state of Israel dedicates the Holocaust Remembrance Day to preserve the stories before the generation of Holocaust survivors disappears. Perhaps if the state of Israel took better care of the survivors and gave them their basic needs such as food, shelter and medications, they would trust us feel more comfortable sharing their stories with us. Unfortunately, as many as 80,000 Holocaust survivors are living in extreme poverty and barely manage to survive the daily hardship of old age. Ironically, some even prefer to move to a different country, Germany for instance, where they are getting better care and are not required to pay for medication and health care. The money that belongs to them from the moneys and properties belonging to Holocaust victims as well as the compensation money from Germany seems to have been lost somewhere in the Israely and Jewish beurocracy systems, or were already used to build the state of Israel in its early days.

Related articles and links:

YNet: Few Holocaust survivors get subsidized health care

Haaretz: For a handful of shattered people, little will do

BBC: Holocaust survivors 'in poverty'

Haaretz: When being thrifty is unjust


One third of all Israeli Holocaust survivors are stricken by poverty!

If you know of more petitions on the matter, please let me know.

* The word “bravery” refers in particular to the few who attempted to resist the Nazis. This date was chosen to commemorates the uprising in the Getto of Warshaw.


All the people who died in wars
In all the many countries on this blood-soaked planet
Soldiers, defending territories, countries and governments for reasons known, unkown, perhaps for no reason at all.
Civilians, defending their families and loved ones and their violated rights for life and freedom.

When they lost their lives, we lost them.
They left behind them a wound that will not heal.
Their pillow will no longer soak their scent so cherished by their loved ones.
The memory of their smile is a phantom of happiness shared long ago.
Their favourite dancing tune are now the saddest song.

The pain, the blood, is everywhere.
It's here for us to share.
And remember to not make this mistake again.
Let's share life and happiness instead.
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